The longest operating resort on Barbados has the newest way to deal with COVID-19.
The Crane Resort, which is run by Canadian Paul Doyle of Toronto, is offering a novel approach that is very tough to beat.
What The Crane has done is quite ingenious.
“When you arrive you go to your apartment here at The Crane,” Doyle said in an interview. “We give you a test the next morning and you’ll get the results the morning after that.”
If visitors arrive with a negative COVID-19 test they’re given a blue wrist band upon arrival at The Crane. That allows them to wander the grounds, use one of their large pools and order room service from one of their outstanding restaurants.
After the next result, if the tests are negative (and they have been 99.5% of the time), guests are given a green wrist band, which indicates they have not only the run of the property but freedom to roam all around Barbados.
It’s a great program. But there’s the kicker. If someone happens to test positive after they arrive and needs to spend time in isolation, and if they’ve already booked five days at The Crane, Doyle will put them up for free until their isolation is over.
Barbados has a policy in place that provides visitors with a free place to stay if they test positive upon arrival, but the accommodations are fairly basic and the food fairly pedestrian, as one would expect at a government facility.
“It’s fine, but probably not anyone’s idea of a vacation,” Doyle said with a laugh.
The Crane, however, is one of the most beautiful resorts on the island, and you can arrange (at a cost, of course) to have wonderful meals brought to your room in a safe and secure fashion. It’s the only resort on Barbados with this kind of plan in place.
Doyle said he has set aside two buildings with one and two-bedroom apartments, spacious, jungle-like patios and private pools for guests who need to isolate for several days.
“We’re now approved by government so that you can stay in one of our apartments,” Doyle said. “What we’re going to do is, if you’ve booked five or more days and you have to stay ten or 11 the rest are on us. We’ll give you an apartment or one or two bedrooms. Most have their own pools.”
“We will bend over backwards to look after people with this to make sure they’re happy,” he said.
Unlike the U.S., Barbados has universal health care. Visitors who develop COVID-19 aren’t charged for their hospital stays.
If a guest at The Crane is found to have COVID-19 and has to isolate, Doyle said they can make it work.
“We’ve built a medical facility just for this,” he said. “We added special walls and sinks and other facilities. Doctors can come into a special room and change into their special suits and treat patients.”
Guests in isolation can order from the restaurants at The Crane and be perfectly safe, as will other, non-infected guests.
“This poses no risk,” he said. “If the virus doesn’t go through a mask it certainly doesn’t go through a 10-inch, concrete wall.”
They haven’t had any major incidents, but the resort does have cameras on site in case anyone in isolation decides to go for a stroll.
Doyle said Barbados has “literally zero cases of COVID-19 right now” and that almost all cases they’ve had have come from visitors and were not spread through the community.
“The protocols here are some of the best in the world.”
Asked how he came up with the idea, Doyle said that right from the start he figured that success in tourism in this day and age would require “cooperation, or a marriage, between health and safety. Getting that right required some creativity, but the Ministry of Health has applauded our efforts.”